The wall of mystery completely breaks down in chapter forty-five, as Joseph sends the servants out of the room and reveals himself to his brothers through tears of joy. Shocked by this revelation, the sons of Jacob aren’t sure what to do, but Joseph brings them close with words of comfort. This is where we have our gem for today.
So Joseph said to his brothers, “Come near to me, please.” And they came near. And he said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are yet five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt. Hurry and go up to my father and say to him, ‘Thus says your son Joseph, God has made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me; do not tarry. You shall dwell in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you and your children and your children’s children, and your flocks, your herds, and all that you have. There I will provide for you, for there are yet five years of famine to come, so that you and your household, and all that you have, do not come to poverty.’Genesis 45:4-11 ESV
If ever there was an opportunity to boast, it was now, but the Joseph of chapter forty-five is not the Joseph of chapter thirty-seven. He’s not only been humbled by God but he’s gained a glimpse into the greater plan of God for Israel. This is why I’ve chosen these verses because we cannot help but see the difference.
Joseph puts his brothers’ hearts at ease by revealing God’s hand in all that had happened:
- God sent me before you to preserve life.
- God sent me before you to preserve a remnant on earth.
- It wasn’t you who sent me, but God.
- God has made me lord of all Egypt.
Though he’d let them return home once, he would not continue in the same pattern, because God had also revealed to Joseph that there were five years of famine yet to come. They would return, but this time with wagons, donkeys, money, and provisions in order to bring their father and families back to Egypt. Where would they settle? In a land of Joseph’s choosing.
This story is a precursor to other returns, first from the land of Egypt after four hundred years of slavery and then from the Babylonian exile. God provided for his people both times but through pagan kings. The land of God’s choosing was that promised to Abraham centuries before, and he was faithful to fulfill his promises.
When we get caught up in the trials of life, whether family disputes, wars, or famine, God is still sovereign over our future and will not allow such things to hinder his ultimate goal of drawing people to himself in relationship and the ultimate restoration of his people to the land. In the meantime, we suffer and groan, instead of focusing on what God’s doing in our midst.
Joseph, who was graced with a glimpse of God’s working for his family, reminded his brothers as they returned to get their father: “Do not quarrel on the way” (v. 24).
May we remember his admonition as well while awaiting Christ’s return.
Grace and Peace